In the face of funding cuts from the city of Vandalia and difficult economic conditions, the board of directors of Vandalia Main Street this week issued a press release affirming its intention to continue the organization – albeit in a scaled-down version.
As a result, the organization will be “restructuring its dues, membership structure and administrative operations to better meet the needs of donors and offer better value for their investment,” according to a press release issued by Josh Henry, Vandalia Main Street board president.
The release said that the focus of Vandalia Main Street “will continue to be to promote the downtown district of Vandalia – its historical value, merchants and retailers, and to provide a memorable experience to visitors.”
Henry told The Leader-Union on Wednesday that Vandalia Main Street Executive Director Dana Whiteman has been placed on a 30-day furlough.
“The money is just not there,” he said. “The plan is to bring her back Sept. 1 on a full-time basis.”
In the meantime, Henry said that Whiteman’s job description will be reviewed.
“We want to make sure that her focus is on doing things that benefit the downtown district.
“My main goal is to streamline the focus and vision so that they are simple and defined,” Henry said.
“When we redefine the organization, we want there to be no question where our organization’s responsibilities end and where other organizations’ responsibilities begin.”
Specifically, he said that he wanted to “redefine the line” between Vandalia Main Street and the Vandalia Chamber of Commerce, since those two organizations have many similar functions. Whiteman is serving as vice president of the chamber this year.
Under Vandalia Main Street’s narrowed focus, the board affirmed its intention to continue sponsorship of Corn Days, Olde Tyme Christmas and a pie auction. Those activities, the release said, “are too important to the betterment of the historic downtown district to not offer our best efforts toward the success of those events.”
Henry also said that several of the founders of Vandalia Main Street will be contacted soon, “to see what their initial vision was and why they started the organization.”